The season five winner of American Idol is once again a southern. Like season two winner Rueben Studdard, Taylor Hicks is a native of Birmingham, Alabama. But unlike previous Idol winners and contestants who have signed with Arista head Clive Davis., Hicks did not compromise on the music.
The grey haired southern rocker sites the likes of Sam Cooke, Ray Charles, and Jimmy Buffet as his one idols. Hicks who is known as much for the colour of his hair as his soulful voice saw his hair begin to change back in high school.
The self-titled CD is Hicks' debut album with Arista but he has two previous indie releases from his days as a lounge lizard prior to Idol fame. Hicks' experience as a professional musician is evident by his choice of songs on the album. They showcase his talent as a singer and his voice. Like Michael MacDonald - who Hicks' voice resembles - Hicks fits in well with the Motown sound of old; in fact two of the songs on the album are covers of old Motown songs by the legendary Marvin Gaye and Smokey Robinson.
Two other songs were penned by Hicks himself and had even been recorded on "Under the Radar" on of Hicks' earlier releases. Hicks also co-wrote another song which appears on the album. Rockers Rob Thomas and Bryan Adams also contributed songs to the album. The final cut on the album "The Right Stuff" was written by Adams for Ray Charles shortly before the soul legend's death.
Among the photos that appear on the album artwork are some showing Hicks holding and playing the guitar, the self taught musician does not contribute any guitar playing on this album. Besides his voice; however, Hicks does play harmonica and on the album's opening cut Hicks joins the Weekend Warriors Drum Corps on the drums.
This album is not a laid back chill out CD, it is meant for fun, rocking out, dancing and singing along. The album opens with the fast paced "The Runaround". The marching drums catch your attention and things don't slow down until the last song.
Taylor Hicks self-titled CD shows that Hicks is the real thing and not just some karaoke wanna-be.
Recent reports stated that the sales of R&B music have declined significantly in the past couple of years; but if more albums like Taylor Hicks album were released then album sales would make a quick recovery.
All during season five of American Idol viewers repeatedly heard "Soul Patrol"; this is the name Hicks' fans give themselves and like Buffet's Parotheads Hicks hopes members of the Soul Patrol will see his shows as a cultural experience and not just a concert.